What is Bromidrophobia?

Bromidrophobia, also spelled “bromidrosophobia”, is the abnormal and unusual fear of body smells.

Human body odor is normal in everyone to some degree, but the degree to which someone’s odor is offensive to others also depends on individual factors. A sensitive nose may lead some to be more easily offended and make the formation of a phobia more possible.

Sufferers from bromidrophobia may fear getting physically sick in the presence of offensive odor. Smells which may be pleasant to others can also be offensive for those with this phobia.

Bromidrophobia is also known as bromisidrophobia. It is related to autodysomophobia (fear of having a vile odor) as well as olfactophobiaosmophobia

The root word “brom” is Greek meaning “stench”, “stink”, “bad odor” or “unpleasant bodily odor”.

Symptoms of Bromidrophobia

  • extreme anxiety, dread
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • heart palpitation
  • excessive sweating
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • confusion / inability to articulate clearly
  • lack of focus
  • irritability
  • diarrhea
  • shaking
  • feelings of powerlessness
  • obsession with the subject of the phobia
  • fear or feelings of losing control
  • avoidance behavior
  • headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms

Causes of Bromidrophobia

This fear may result from an extreme sensitivity to smells, illustrating a root cause in genetics to some degree.

People who sweat more than usual or work in hot places may be offended by their own odor a la autodysomophobia and then come to fear the odor of others as well. (“If my own odor is horrible, then others must be horrible to me as well.”)

Bromidrophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies.

Bromidrophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias

Treatment for Bromidrophobia

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Habit strategies to relax
  • Cognitive therapy (CT)
  • In vivo exposure
  • Response prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments


Book Shelf

The list of books below are hand picked by the staff at Massive Phobia. It's a mixture of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Habit Strategies, Trauma Healing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Buddhist Knowledge and Somatic Study. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.